Old Hand’s Voyage into the Babylonian Heart of Darkness

“Eh shipmate, stand us a pint,” the sleazy drawl of the villainous sploggy reeked at us with an air of imperious command.

McWhirr slowly turned: “Say, do you boys ever ship out on real seas, or are you afraid of getting tar on yer nighties?”

At these words and the atmosphere grew thick with menace.File:Morgan,Henry.jpg

I saw the miscreant clutch tighter the marlin-spike in his beefy fist and hastily interjected:

“My good sirs, may I introduce Saturnius McWhirr?”

At this, the lout grew pale as an albino baluga, saying:

“Pleased to make your acquaintance Captain,” and retreated to his piratical laptop with an obsequious bow.

“Nice Chaps…” said McWhirr, “for a couple of grog-blossomed bottom-feeders. Since we’re stuck in this god-forsaken port shall we splice the main-brace?”

He hailed the barkeep.

Soon, having to pump the bilges, I sought the urinal of the rank Stygian pub and passed a distinguished, bearded gent who sat before an old Underwood typewriter. His gaunt frame seemed mummified in musty, moth-eaten tweeds while his ponderous brows were wreathed in a smokey corona of amber light. On closer inspection, I saw he was merely one of the automated fortune-tellers found in the gaudy theme parks of Babylon. His face was vaguely familiar. On the table front was displayed a sign which read:

The Great Marlowe. Your fortune 25 cents.File:Joseph Conrad 1916.jpg

I dropped a coin into the slot. There was a slight sound from under the table which again halted, began again and increased in speed and volume until the music of bellows and steam pipes sounded over a cacophony of grinding gears like the high registers of Saint Mark’s Cathedral organ. The machine then sputtered to a wheezing halt and ejected a sheet of paper at my feet. I held it up in the murky glow to read:

The horror! The horror!

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